Thursday, November 5, 2009

Excerpt, Chapter 9, Page 90

I'm still deep in revision over here, and haven't worked at the barn in over a month. Ro tells me there's been some physical changes; the window in the drivers room, broken two years ago when one of the drafts roaming the property wedged himself between one of the stock trailers and the window, found out that glass doesn't bend very well, has finally been replaced. The fluorescent lighting in the small barn has been improved. (Fluorescents take a while to achieve full brightness during cold weather. There were times I thought I was going blind…) and the gas heater in the drivers room is finally being fixed, which is great, because that's also where the bathroom is and it gets freakin' cold in there, if you know what I mean.

Add into the mix the two new horses purchased at the auction in Denver last month, and you can see that there is a lot of stuff I've missed. So clearly I need to take a ride downtown. I also have to switch my summer stuff to my winter stuff and do my semi-annual locker cleaning to get it all to fit. But not today. Today I'm still editing. So, since I really have nothing to moan, mock, discuss, or bitch about, I'm posting an excerpt from the novel I'm doing the slash and burn on.

This is one of my favorite scenes. Here is the set-up: the main characters, Bill Fantazma and Carlin "Carlos" Farley operate, you guessed it, a carriage business. Her nickname for him is "Baby Huey." Currently their relationship is platonic, but they do have a romantic history. Carlos has recovered from an accident that killed her husband and young son, amputated her left foot, and gave her brain damage, along with mild aphasia and significant memory loss. One of the side effects of the brain damage is occasional seizures. In this scene Carlos had a seizure the night before, and while she usually sleeps in an RV located on the property, in this case Bill put her in his bed to keep an eye on her.

***

Bill awakened suddenly, something cold touching the bottom of his foot. He lay on his side, his legs drawn up close to his body, and glanced at glowing red numbers on the clock; 3:10. He stretched out and rolled to his left. The soft blue moonlight streaming through the French doors revealed the lump in the bed next to him. Carlin he thought and smiled as his eyes adjusted to the dim interior of his bedroom. She faced away from him, and he realized that it had been her foot touching his. Cautiously extending his leg, Bill connected with her foot again, and tentatively rubbed it with his toes.

It’s like ice. He rolled over, propped himself up on one elbow, and watched her sleep. She lay under the covers, the sheet pulled up around her waist, the blankets bunched up at the end of the bed. He reached out and put his hand on her bare back, feeling the chill of her skin through his fingertips. She responded to his touch, arching against the warmth of his hand. He felt her roll and drew back his arm.

She turned towards him, pillowing her hands under her cheek, her dark brown eyes gazed at him from under her lashes. His heart lurched. She slept shirtless, and in the moonlight he had a very nice view of her breasts. He couldn't stop himself from watching them shift around when she rolled over. He felt his pulse quicken as he looked at her. He licked his lips and swallowed hard, barely noticing the scarcity of saliva and the thick woolen feel of his tongue.

“Bill, I’m cold,” she whispered, her sleepy voice holding a hint of a whine.

“Okay darlin’, hang on one second,” Bill’s reply husky as he dragged his eyes away from her. With great regret he sat up, reached down to the end of the bed and pulled the blankets up over her, tucking her in as she burrowed deep into them looking for warmth. Her hair unbound, he reached out and moved a strand of it out of her face with his fingers, lightly stroking her cheek. She sighed.

“Thanks Baby Hu…” her soft voice drifted away.

Bill watched her for a moment longer before he rolled away, positioning his body as close to the edge as possible. He knew her proximity and her nakedness would make returning to sleep very difficult. He took a deep breath, drawing in her scent, almond cookies with a hint of horse, knowing even while he did it that it was a mistake.

I should never have put her under the covers, he reminded himself. She gets too warm and then we have this…this…situation.

He thought about her breasts again, watching an instant replay in his head, over and over. He punched his pillow and muttered, “Have some mercy, woman.” Closing his eyes he breathed deeply through his mouth, tried to ignore the alluring smell of almonds, attempted to stop his pulse from pounding in his chest, and crunched numbers in his brain to cool his ardor.

***

Bill’s alarm screeched at seven am. He reached a long arm out and slapped it off. “Oh, shut up!” he grumbled, never opening his eyes.

“Bill,” Carlin’s tone was sharp.

Bill opened his eyes and stared at the wall.

“Bill,” she repeated, insistent.

“What?” He was grumpy. He was tired. Going back to sleep was very tempting.

“Why am I in your bed?” she demanded.

Bill rolled his eyes and said nothing. Great, it’s going to be like that, is it?

“Did I have a see-saw?” she asked.

He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “Yes, you had a seizure,” he replied.

She was quiet for a moment. “Was what’s-his-name there?”

Bill sighed. “Richard. Yes.”

He felt her rustling next to him. “What did we do last night?”

“We ate pizza and watched your favorite movie. Then you fell asleep.”

“We watched ‘The Godfather’? I don’t remember that.”

Bill swiveled his head towards her. “No, we watched ‘The Princess Bride.’”

Carlos looked into his eyes, “That’s your favorite movie, Bill.”

Bill grinned at her, eyeing her tousled bed-head, the way she cocooned herself into the covers, so close he could smell her lotion. This morning she smelled like warm cookies. Adorable warm cookies.

She narrowed her eyes and glared at him. “Why am I naked?” she asked with a fair amount of suspicion in her voice.

Bill raised his eyebrows, all innocent, “You’re not naked. You still have your underpants on, don't you?”

She pulled the covers away and took a quick look, giving him another flash of her breasts. “Did we do sex last night?” she asked accusingly, pulling the covers snug around her again.

Bill closed his eyes and sighed heavily. Maybe she wasn't so adorable this morning after all. “No. We did not have sex last night.”

“Because I don’t like being taken advantage of, Bill.”

“I know you don’t. I would never do that to you.” He tried to keep his voice even, but he was too tired for this. He rolled back onto his side, away from her, praying for patience.

“Then why am I naked?” The accusatory tone was still in her voice. “Give me your shirt,” she demanded, clutching the covers closer to her.

Bill gritted his teeth and slapped the mattress between them with his palm, making her jump. “You took your tank and your bra and your jeans off because you were too hot. In the middle of the night you woke me up because you were too cold and I covered you with the blanket. Now you're suddenly shy, and you want my clothes? I kept my clothes on all night, missy!”

“Well, you should have stopped me,” she said, uncertainty creeping into her voice.

"Like I could ever stop you," Bill muttered.

“And how do I know that you didn’t take my clothes off after the see-saw when you know I can’t remember stuff like that!” she harrumphed. “And then I wake up naked,” she added, jerking away from him onto her side.

Bill mentally counted to ten, then rolled back towards her, inching over until he was pressed up against her back. He put his free arm around her and jerked her up against the length of his long, hard body. He heard her breath escape in an “Oof!” as he placed his lips next to her ear.

“If I had stripped off your clothes and made love to you last night, Carlin, I guarantee you would remember it this morning,” he hissed.

Pushing himself away from her, he flung off the covers and rolled out of bed, ripping his t-shirt off over his head with both hands as he walked across the room. From the doorway he turned, wadded it into a ball and threw it at her.

“Now what did I do?” she asked, flinching as it hit her.

“Nothing!” Bill growled, and he went downstairs to find refuge in lifting weights.

4 comments:

Lyn said...

That is a great scene, for sure. You could sell that all by itself.

Tonight I got my MC lost in a eucalyptus grove and then stuck her in a ratty motel. I hope she doesn't read this scene, because if she does, she'll desert me for sure and apply for a job in your book!

Cookies and a hint of horse.
Why does that remind me of California in the sixties?

Anonymous said...

Now I really want to read your book...

I usually read several books a week, but I am finishing my teaching certs AND working 12 hours a day, plus my horses... so very little free reading.

But now I really want to read your book... I really must know as soon as it goes to be published so I can pre-order.

Gina

Slave Driver said...

I hope she doesn't read this scene, because if she does, she'll desert me for sure and apply for a job in your book!

I know we've gone over this... you of all people should know the standards used to hire carriage drivers:

All drivers must posess:

A Valid Utah DL, stating they are at least 21

A minimum of 50% of their own teeth

a pulse

very thick skin and the ability to take a lot of mocking.

I hope your girl has these things or else whe will not make it past the first night.

Also: Cookies and a hint of horse.
Why does that remind me of California in the sixties?


I think you are mistaking those scents for Patchouli and reefer...


Gina,

Thank you again for your kind words and I will let everyone know, believe me.

Wow, 12 hour days, teaching certs and horses, I can see where reading would be hard to slip in. Thanks for taking the time to stop by here, and especially comment, as so few do anymore.

Serena said...

I love it! I want more!!